Edwards, George, 1694-1773. / A natural history of birds : most of which have not been figured or described, and others very little known, from obscure or too brief descriptions without figures, or from figures very ill designed
Part II (1747)
The white partridge, pp. 72-[Plate] 72 ff.
( 72 ) The WHITE PARTRIDGE. H I S Bird is of a middle Size, between our common Partridge and a Pheafant, and Shaped T[ ' much like a Partridae, except that its Tail is a little longer. The Bill is Black; the Noflrils covered with fmall white Feathers, turning forward ; the un-' der Chop of the Bill has alfo white Feathers at its Root ; the Eyes are encompaffed with a narrow Space of white Feathers; above each Eye are loofe Eye-brows, faflened only at their Bottoms, rifing on each Side higher than the Crown of the Head, of an Inch Length, and half an Inch Breadth, cornpofed of a Subftance like Plufh, or the Skin round the Eyes of a Cock Pbrafrant, of a fine Red Colour: The Head and Neck are of a Reddifh Brown, barred a-crofs with fine Lines of Black, a few white Feathers being intermixed in the fore Part of the Neck: The Middle of the Back is White, as is the whole Wing, except the Shafts of the greater (OLiils, which are Black: The variegated Feathers at the Bottom of the Neck do not break off very fuddenly, but are Sprinkled on the Beginning of the Back, and between the Back and Wings on each Side; there is a fprinkling of them alfo on the Breafi, and fome few in the co- vert Feathers on the upper Side of the Tail: The two middle Feathers of the Tail are variegated tranfverfly with Brown and Black in the fame Manner as thofe on the Neck, &C. The two next on each Side White; the remaining outermoft Tail Feathers of a dirty Brown or Black Co- lour, tipp'd with White: The Belly, Sides, Infides of the Wings, covert Feathers under the Tail, Legs and Feet, to the Ends of the Toes, are wholly covered with white Feathers, thofe on the Legs and Feet refembling Hair more than Feathers: The Claws are of a Brown Colour, and pretty long, but fomething flatter than what is common in Birds. The ftuffed Skin of this Bird is preserved at Sir Hans Sloane's, from which I made my Draught and Defcription. Mr. Light, who is now returned from Hud/on's Bay to England, on feeing this Bird, faid it was the Cock Bird, as it appears in the Spring, when it is changing from White to Brown ; their Feathers being in Winter of a perfec&t fnowy Whitenefs, except the outer Fea- thers of the Tail, which are Black tipp'd with White; they begin to change in the Spring, and become Brown on their upper Sides, the Belly remaining moftly White. Mr. Light brought one of thefe Birds from Hudfon's Bay, and gave it me, which was perfecR- ly White; he fhot it there in the Winter, and affures me, on his own Knowledge, that thefe Birds towards Evening repofe themfelves under the Snow, (which in that Country is loofe, like fine dry Sand) where they continue all Nighit, and in the Morning fly direcfly up to fhake off the Snow; he hath often feen them rife, and found their Dung in their fnowy Lodgings: He fays they are obferved to feed only in the Morning and Evening in Winter, and fiun them- felves in the Middle of the Day. They are Natives of Hudfon's Bay, where they breed, and continue all the Year; but are common both to Zinerica and Europe. I have r ceived the very fame Birds from Norway; and all our Treatifes on Birds defcribe them very exaaly, and place them in the Mountains of Switzerland, Italy, Spain, &c. It is not properly a Partridge, but of that Kind we call Heath Game, and /llrovand, Lagopus anis. You will find him defcribed in his Winter's Drefs in TVilloughby's Ornithology, Pag. i76. The Bird I took Draught from, above defcribed, had the Red on the Eye-brows much wider than I ever faw: in any among the great Number I have feen, it being hardly percep- tible in fome when the Skins are dry; which makes me think this was an old Cock in the Sea- fon of his lll Vigour, for we obferve that the Combs of our common Poultry are much larger and redder in the Spring than in the Winter Time. As I find that fome of the Particulars which I have discovered relating to this Bird are entirely new, I hope the Curious will not think my Labour and their Coff wholly thrown away, notwithftanding it hath been long ago de- fcribed, and is well known to the Curious. It bath efcaped Mr. Albin's Notice.